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ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Raiders plan to place cornerback DJ Hayden on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury, potentially ending the former first-round pick's stay in Oakland.
Although the team had yet to make an official announcement, coach Jack Del Rio told reporters on Friday that Hayden's season was finished.
"He's got a substantial hamstring (injury) so he's not going to be returning this year to us," Del Rio said. "That was a big blow. That'll happen either tonight or tomorrow. It's unfortunate. He was playing well for us but that's the case."
Hayden was injured on the second play in the fourth quarter of last week's win against the Carolina Panthers and did not return. That ended an up-and-down season for the fifth-year player who had been playing mostly in nickel situations.
"It's always a blow when we lose any type of player because every piece that we have is critical for our success on the field," said TJ Carrie, who is likely to replace Hayden as Oakland's nickel back. "A lot of other guys are going to have to step up. A lot of the younger guys are going to have to step up and be on notice for whatever happens with us in the back end."
It is also a potentially cruel ending to Hayden's tenure in Oakland.
The Raiders went 14-34 during Hayden's first three seasons but are 9-2 and leading the AFC West heading into Sunday's home game against the Buffalo Bills. General manager Reggie McKenzie declined to pick up the option year on Hayden's contract this past offseason, however, making him a free agent at the end of this season.
Hayden did not come into the locker room during the media access period Friday. Carrie, a close friend, said his teammate is trying to remain upbeat.
"DJ's a big part of our success defensively, what we've been able to do," Carrie said. "As a professional, your hopes are going to be down for a little bit but at the end of the day I think he's still very positive in the sense he can be around us and definitely teach us some of the things that he knows and allow us to see some of the things he's seen on the field. That will be critical for all of us."
The 12th overall pick in 2013, Hayden has played only one full season due to a history of injuries after suffering a near-fatal heart injury prior to his senior year in college. Hayden missed eight games as a rookie because of a groin injury and sat out the first six games in 2014 with a foot injury.
"He has all the tools to go as high as he wants to go," Raiders cornerback David Amerson said. "I just always knew when he gets there mentally he could do all these things, that he could play with the best of them. That he was going to be an important piece, of any team, of our team. It sucks, man."
Notes: Quarterback Derek Carr (finger) was removed from the injury list. . Defensive tackles Stacy McGee (ankle), Darius Latham (ankle) and linebacker Shalique Calhoun (knee) did not practice and are out. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree (ankle), center Rodney Hudson (knee), running back Latavius Murray (ankle), left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) and linebackers Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and Perry Riley Jr. (hamstring) were all limited and questionable.
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